MOCA LA director Philippe Verne recommends three shows in Los Angeles [posted 2/27/2018]

“I love it when I go to an exhibition and see art I don’t know and maybe don’t even understand.”
Image: Aria Dean, Two Cotton Bales Bound Together At 250lbs Each, 2018, raw cotton, ratchet e-strap system, 53 x 44 x 22 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Ghebaly Gallery. Photo: Brica Wilcox.

EDITORS' PICKS

“B. Wurtz: This Has No Name”

Through February 3, 2019

This survey provides a comprehensive view of B. Wurtz’s photos, paintings, drawings, and sculptures, which monumentalize humble, everyday materials like food containers, bits of clothing, and scraps of wood and metal. The show includes some of Wurtz’s early hybrid pieces from the 1980s that pair a dramatic photo of a given object with the item itself. Many of his playful, delicately constructed tableaux made up of elements such as plastic and mesh bags, aluminum pans, ribbons, and socks are also featured in the show.

Image: B. Wurtz, Untitled (bread painting #3), 2010, Acrylic on canvas, plastic, thread, 59 x 39 x 1/4 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

“Tania Bruguera”

through February 24, 2019

Part political art and part political action, Cuban artist Tania Bruguera’s work has taken myriad forms, among them a 2014 public performance in which she invited everyday Cubans to step up to a podium in Havana’s Revolution Square and speak their minds (the event was canceled by Cuban authorities, who also arrested several would-be participants) as well as a storefront community center in New York City offering services to recent immigrants. In 2008, Bruguera had policemen on horseback storm Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall and corral surprised visitors into the center of the gallery—transforming audience members into state-controlled citizens, according to the artist. This season, Bruguera returns to Tate Modern with a new commissioned piece, involving a heat-sensitive floor,  expanding on her concept of Arte Útil (art as a social tool).

Image: Installation view of “Tania Bruguera, Hyundai Commission,” Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, 2018. Photo copyright © Tate photography (Andrew Dunkley).

“Odyssey: Jack Whitten Sculpture, 1963–2017,”

through December 2, 2018

American abstractionist Jack Whitten, who died in early 2018, is justly celebrated for working magic with acrylic paint—combing it, carving it, and casting tiles, membranes, and objects out of it to use in tessellated or collaged compositions—but he’s less well known as a sculptor. This show of his  sculptures, organized by the Met Breuer, New York, and the Baltimore Museum of Art, brings together some forty works. Made on summer trips to Greece starting in the 1970s and inspired by African, Cycladic, and African American vernacular art, they incorporate bones, nails, drawer pulls, circuit boards, fishing line, and carved wood and marble. The pieces evince the same engagement with process as Whitten’s two-dimensional works, a kinship underscored by the inclusion of eighteen of his paintings.

Image: Jack Whitten, Mirsini’s Doll, ca. 1975, Cretan Walnut, Black Mulberry, 14 1/2 x 5 x 3.25 inches. Collection of Mirsini Amidon. Copyright © The Estate of Jack Whitten. Courtesy The Estate of Jack Whitten and Hauser & Wirth.

“Charles White: A Retrospective”

through January 13, 2019

Having participated in Works Progress Administration arts projects and, in the late 1940s, spent some time with the revolutionary Taller de Gráfica Popular print collective in Mexico, Charles White (1918–1979) pursued a social realist path that was worlds apart from what he once called “the inhuman and abstract direction in which so many of the young artists of my own country were moving.” Debuting at the Art Institute of Chicago, from whose school he graduated in 1938, this survey features around eighty prints, drawings, and paintings by this Chicago-born figure who sought to convey the dignity of working people and to instill African Americans with a sense of cultural pride.

Image: Charles White, Paul Robeson (Study for Contribution of the Negro to Democracy in America), 1942-43, carbon pencil over charcoal, with additions and corrections in white gouache, and border in carbon pencil, on cream drawing board. 24 7/8 × 19 1/16 inches. Princeton University Art Museum. Museum purchase, Kathleen Compton Sherrerd Fund for Acquisitions in American Art. Copyright © The Charles White Archives / Art Resource, New York.

“Mika Rottenberg”

through November 4, 2018

Through surreal videos—in which sweatshop workers churn out such absurdist products as cheese made from the milk of women’s hair; wet wipes impregnated with sweat; and live bunnies—Argentine-born Israeli artist Mika Rottenberg addresses real-life subjects, including immigration, labor, and inequality.  A survey of her work, which inaugurates the Assemble-designed Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, will include two new works commissioned for the show.

Image: Mika Rottenberg, NoNoseKnows (Artist Variant), 2015, sculpture and video installation. Installation view in “Mika Rottenberg,” Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, September 8 - November 4, 2018. Photo: Andy Keate. Image courtesy of the artist and Goldsmiths CCA.

“David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night”

Through September 30, 2018

By the time he died of AIDS at age thirty-seven in 1992, the largely self-taught artist David Wojnarowicz had established himself as a creative force in painting, photography, filmmaking, performance, critical and creative writing, and gay activism. A quintessential East Village figure (his friends included Kiki Smith, Peter Hujar, Zoe Leonard, Karen Finley, and Nan Goldin), he famously—and vociferously—took on such champions of bourgeois propriety as Cardinal John O’Connor, William F. Buckley, and the American Family Association. This retrospective of his work draws primarily from the museum’s own Wojnarowicz holdings.

Image: David Wojnarowicz, Untitled (One day this kid . . .), 1990-91, photostat mounted on board, sheet: 29 13/16 × 40 1/8 × 3/16 inches, image: 28 1/8 × 37 1/2 inches. Image copyright © Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

“Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams”

through January 01, 2019

In sculptures of futuristic buildings and cities, Congolese artist Bodys Isek Kingelez (1948– 2015) articulated a utopian vision of a more productive, more peaceful, more just global community. Made from cardboard, paper, plastic, found objects, and printed commercial packaging, Kingelez’s exuberant models of soaring towers, streamlined buildings, and gracious public squares embodied his hopes for the newly independent African nation of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and extended them to the wider world.

Image: Bodys Isek Kingelez, Stars Palme Bouygues, 1989, mixed media construction, 39 3/8 × 15 3/4 × 15 3/4 inches. Courtesy van Lierde collection, Brussels. Photo: Vincent Everarts Photography, Brussels.

“Jessie Dunahoo”

through August 31, 2018, by appointment

Kentucky artist Jessie Dunahoo (1932–2017), who was born deaf and lost his sight as a young man, made astonishing quilt-like panels from plastic shopping bags, fabric scraps, and yarn, each the exact size of his work table, and each a visually sophisticated arrangement of colors and textures; irregular voids and regimented grids; solid shapes and imprinted images and words. Institute 193’s Phillip March Jones, who will open a branch of the Lexington-based space on the Lower East Side this fall, has curated an installation of Dunahoo’s work in Elaine de Kooning’s former studio in East Hampton, New York.

Image: Installation view of “Jessie Dunahoo” at Elaine de Kooning House, East Hampton, New York, 2018.

VOICES

Los Angeles

Warhol scholar Neil Printz on two exhibitions in New York [published 10/2/2018]

”Whitten’s and Delacroix’s works actually fit together, in their richness and urgency.”

Image: Jack Whitten, Quantum Man (The Sixth Portal), 2016, marble, Cretan walnut, Serbian oak, lead, acrylic, mixed media. Collection of the Estate of Jack Whitten, courtesy Hauser & Wirth.
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Oluremi C. Onabanjo on three exhibitions in New York [posted 7/23/2018]

“It was thrilling to go into those darkened galleries packed with people sitting on the floor, enrapt.”

Image: Malick Sidibé, Soiree eu famille, 1972/2008, gelatin silver print, 8 3/4 x 5 3/4 inches image size, 9 1/2 x 7 inches paper size, signed, titled, and dated on front. Courtesy of Jack Shainman, New York.
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MOCA LA director Philippe Verne recommends three shows in Los Angeles [posted 2/27/2018]

“I love it when I go to an exhibition and see art I don’t know and maybe don’t even understand.”

Image: Aria Dean, Two Cotton Bales Bound Together At 250lbs Each, 2018, raw cotton, ratchet e-strap system, 53 x 44 x 22 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Ghebaly Gallery. Photo: Brica Wilcox.
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Hammer chief curator Connie Butler on shows in Los Angeles [Published 2017/12/12]

“The first show I would recommend would be “Below the Underground: Renegade Art and Action in 1990s Mexico,” which covers a really important moment in the history of Mexican contemporary art.”

Image: “The first show I would recommend would be “Below the Underground: Renegade Art and Action in 1990s Mexico,” which covers a really important moment in the history of Mexican contemporary art.”
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Artist Tala Madani on the shows she’s looking forward to in L.A. [Published 2017/09/19]

“Because of Pacific Standard Time, it’s going to be a really exciting art season in Los Angeles.”

Image: Juan José Gurrola, Señora con pan (Woman with Bread), from the series “Dom Art,” 1962/2014, transfer on canvas, 72 by 70 by 2 inches. Courtesy of House of Gaga.
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